It's been seven days since it happened.
Seven days since I last held her in my arms and told her I loved her. Who knew that in just a week, I'd be looking at Lilly's body in a casket wearing the necklace I'd gotten her for our one-year anniversary? It's only been seven days, but yet so much has happened.
And it was all my fault.
"Nathan, you're killing me!"
"Aw come on, it's not that bad."
"Stop! I hate being tickled!"
I put my hands up and stepped back. "Okay, okay, fine. There, happy?"
Lilly gasped for air, her giggles fading as she caught her breath. "I hate you."
"No you don't," I said, holding my arms out to her. "Come here, I'm sorry. You just looked like you were having so much fun."
Laughing, Lilly slapped my arm and sat down on top of my bed. "Yeah let me just see how much you'd like it if I was torturing you."
"But you were laughing and smiling!" I sat down next to her.
"I was smiling in pain, you jerk." Lilly stuck her tongue out at me and crossed her arms.
"That's not even a thing," I reached over and gave her a hug.
Lilly rolled her eyes but leaned into me, accepting my embrace. I pressed my cheek onto the top of her head and closed my eyes. Today was our one year and sixth month anniversary. Originally Lilly and I had planned on having a fancy dinner and celebrating the date, but she'd just wanted to have a casual hang out. So I'd invited her over to my house and we'd played a few video games and just spent the day together. I opened my eyes and looked down at Lilly. She pulled away and gazed up at me with her soft brown eyes.
"What's up with you?" she smiled.
"Do you remember the first time we met?" I asked, toying with a strand of her dark brown hair.
"What, you mean when you helped me out at the Rainbow Run?" Lilly laid back on the bed. "Yeah I remember. It was one hell of a mini marathon."
"Maybe for you," I said, nudging her leg with my elbow. "I mean, who sprains their ankle on the first hundred meters of the run?"
"Oh shut up," Lilly laughed. "There were a lot of people and I just tripped."
"Yeah and if I hadn't stopped to help you out, you probably would've gotten trampled." Getting up from the bed, I walked over to my desk and rifled through a few papers. "You know, your clumsiness really hasn't gotten any better since I met you."
"Well that's why I have you, right?" Lilly got up and walked over to where I stood and put a hand on my back. "I'm really glad I met you when I did, Nathan."
I smiled at her and gave her a soft kiss on her forehead. Just as I was about to ask her if she wanted anything to eat, Lilly jumped and snatched a piece of paper off my desk. Speedily scanning it, she held it up to my face and scowled. It was my class schedule for the fall semester at Harlington University just downtown. While Lilly and I had just graduated from high school and had made plans to go to the same college, things hadn't quite worked out that way. But luckily the schools we were going to be attending were only a few hours away so visiting wouldn't be a huge problem. The only problem I faced right now was the fact that I hadn't told Lilly I'd be leaving for college earlier than planned so that I could move into my dorm and get situated.
"You're leaving after this weekend?" Lilly asked, demandingly. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I just never found a good time to tell you." I took a step back, sheepishly grinning at her. "I'm sorry, I just wanted to let you have a nice time today."
Letting out a frustrated sigh, Lilly dropped the schedule back onto my desk and grabbed my hand, dragging me out of my room.
"Wait what are we doing?" I asked.
"We're going to make the best of the day since you're leaving in two days." Lilly growled.
"Where are we going?"
"To the high school!"
It was all my fault. I should have told Lilly earlier that week that I'd was going to be moving out early. If I'd just have done that, maybe she wouldn't be lying in that black coffin of hers. Lilly would've been just fine, she would never have wanted to go to the high school. I squeezed my eyes shut tight as I turned away from Lilly in her coffin. Her mother stepped up to the podium at the front of the church the funeral was taking place in and wiped her eyes. Everyone settled into their seats as Lilly's mother began to deliver her eulogy and heart-wrenching speech. It was beautiful but Lilly would have thought it was so cheesy. I clenched my fists tight as Lilly's mother turned to look at me and describe how happy she was that I'd been with her daughter and how happy we always were together.
But then she lied.
She lied and told the whole group of people gathered there for Lilly that her death wasn't my fault.
"Woohoo!" Lilly cheered loudly. "This is amazing!"
"Shh!" I pulled her down and covered her mouth with my hand. "Do you want to get caught?"
Lilly laughed behind my hand and rolled me over. "Oh stop being such a baby. This is so cool! I can't believe we actually climbed on top of the roof!"
I gave up trying to subdue her. She was a wild one, that was for sure. I looked over at her and saw that she was already back on her feet and dancing. Smiling, I lay on my back, staring up at the stars that twinkled in the sky above us. It was a beautiful night and Lilly couldn't have chosen a better time to come up on a rooftop. At first I'd been a bit worried about climbing up to the roof of our high school, but when Lilly gets into something, she really dives into it. I chuckled and gazed up into the sky, thanking all the stars for granting me someone like Lilly in my life. Abruptly stopping her twirling, Lilly fell back onto her back next to me. She laughed and reached out a hand to mine. Breathing heavily from all her dancing, Lilly clasped my hand tightly and stared up into the night sky.
"Hm?" I turned my head to look at her. "Why's that?"
Lilly closed her eyes and reached a hand out to the sky. "There's so much of it. So much space out there. It makes me feel like a tiny speck of dust."
"Well, we are pretty insignificant if you think about it that way." I said. "But why think of it that way? I think that while we're still so small in regards to the universe, we're pretty big when you think about where we are right now."
"Really?" Lilly turned back to look at me, eyes full of hope.
"Yeah, of course." I smiled and pulled her in close. "Look. We're on top of this building right? We've come so far in our lives. It's not size that matters, but what's inside and we're building ourselves little by little. So don't be scared."
Giving me a hug, Lilly smiled. "You're right. I guess I'm just scared of what all this space will do to us when we go to our different colleges."
I stood up and lent her a hand. "Hey, I'm not going anywhere."
"But you're going to Harlington, and I-"
"I am going there, but I'm not going anywhere from here," I said, putting a hand over her heart. "I'll never leave you."
For a moment, I thought Lilly was going to cry. But that passed quickly and she giggled loudly.
"Ugh you're so cheesy." She laughed. "But I understand. I'm not leaving you ever either. And I hope that's okay with you!"
"Absolutely." I drew her in for a kiss.
As we pulled away, Lilly jumped in the air and whooped loudly. "I love you Nathan Tyler!"
Just as I was about to pull her down again, a flash of light startled me. The beam of light came from the side of the building we climbed up on. Lilly ducked down and crawled over to me.
"Who's there?" A man's voice boomed loudly. "I know you're up here!"
"What do we do?" Lilly whispered worriedly. "We can't get down without using that ladder on the side!"
"Shh," I said, taking her hand and running behind an air vent box to hide. "We'll just sneak past him then make a dash for the ladder and run, okay?"
Nodding vigorously, Lilly hunched behind me. Sneaking a peek at the watchman coming up onto the roof, I saw that the man was already up. Desperate to find another spot to run to, a tall electrical box caught my eye. Nudging Lilly and pointing out the box to her, I readied myself to run towards it once the man looked the other way. I watched the man closely, and as soon as he turned his flashlight away from where we were hiding, I tugged on Lilly's hand and we ran for it. Lucky for us, the box wasn't too far from where we were hiding. The only trouble was, the ladder on the side of the building was bit of a distance away, so we'd have to sprint towards it. Looking behind me at Lilly, I nodded in the direction of the escape route and she squeezed my hand in response.
"Hey!" The light swept over us as the man began to run towards us. "Don't move!"
Lilly screamed and we ran towards the side of the building. The man was pretty fast and we were panicking. Just as we were about to reach the ladder, I heard the man shout out to us. It was only after I heard Lilly scream that I realized the man didn't sound angry anymore but terrified. I turned just in time to see her feet flip over her head as she fell two stories.
"Well now that I've rambled on long enough," Lilly's mother said, attempting to cough up a laugh. "I'm sure that there are people who'd like to say a few things about my daughter. Nathan, would you like to come up?"
My hands were as cold as ice blocks and my head was spinning. She really wanted me to say something about Lilly when I'd been the reason why she was in that casket? The reason why she wasn't back at my house laughing about how we almost got caught on that rooftop. I stood up stiffly and walked to the podium as if my feet were being cemented to the ground. Lilly's mother enveloped me in an embrace as I stepped up to the microphone. She whispered to me that she loved me like a son and that she could never forget what I'd done for her sweet little baby. I turned to face the people who'd come to tell Lilly goodbye. I saw all her friends, my friends, teachers, and family members. I felt lost. I couldn't find Lilly. Her face was gone from the world. She was gone. My eyes clouded over and my mind went blank.
"Lilly!" I screamed, kneeling on the ground next to her. "Lilly, baby, please talk to me! Please!"
The night guard of the school was talking to 911 as I tried to get Lilly to open her eyes. She couldn't be dead. No, there was no way. She'd just talked to me a few moments ago. I knew she was just playing a trick on me. Lilly was strong, she was one of the strongest people I knew. Sure she was clumsy but she wasn't going to be taken out like this. But oh, the way her body lay there. The way I found her collapsed on the ground. I'd never seen her look more fragile than how she did now. Her head was crooked to the side and her arms were spread out like she was trying to fly.
"Oh God," I whimpered, hands shaking as I reached out to touch her cheek. "Lilly, don't leave me. I know you're still there."
I bowed my head over hers as I slammed my fist into the ground. That's when I noticed it. I lifted my hand and began to shake all over. Blood. My hand was covered in blood. It wasn't that I was scared of blood but rather that I was scared because it wasn't my blood. My eyes widened as I slowly looked down to see where it came from. My body froze as I saw a pool of blood spread from under Lilly's head.
"No, no, no." I said. "No. No, that's not right. No, baby, don't leave me! Lilly!"
"I'm sorry." My voice shook as I spoke into the microphone. "I'm so sorry."
I looked down over at where Lilly laid. My tears took over as I sprinted from the podium and burst out the church doors, running to anywhere away from that wretched place. What was I going to do? I killed the love of my life and I was supposed to leave for college in a day. How could I face anyone? How could I live with myself? How? Running into a neighborhood park, I slowed and collapsed onto a bench. I was pathetic. Covering my face with my hands, I sobbed openly. I don't know how long I sat there, but eventually my tears ran out and I sat there on the bench just wishing I was the one who was dead instead of Lilly. I never wanted to be without her and now because of my own stupidity, she was dead. My mind cleared suddenly as I came upon a thought. I could be back with her if I died too, right? I laughed, hysterical at the thought of redeeming myself and seeing Lilly again. Oh, my precious Lilly. My breathing slowed as my heart seemed to hope again. I could see her again.
Standing up, I walked out of the park and down the street at a stoplight. Looking up into the sky, I smiled. Lilly, I'll see you again soon. Just wait for me. Looking down the street, I noticed a large semi-truck barreling down the road. All I had to do was take one step into the street and I'd be gone. Just as I closed my eyes and felt the ground shake with the nearing of the semi, something rang loudly and buzzed against my leg, making me jump back from the street and back onto the safety of the sidewalk. Cursing my stupid luck, I reached into my pocket and saw I'd been hindered by a text message. I was just about to throw my phone into the street, but then I saw the name of the sender and froze. My heart raced and my eyes widened. With a shaking hand, I opened the text and dropped my phone.
Lilly: Don't you dare kill yourself, you little pansy